Friday 8 July 2022

Why Thirty Five?

I thought I'd do a review of three of the needlework books on my library pile. Then I realised that the first one Stitching by Fiona Goble is subtitled "35 cute sewing projects to turn everyday items into works of art" and the second, My First Sewing Machine Book by Emma Hardy contains "35 fun and easy projects for children aged 7 years+" Why are 35 projects the optimum number, do you think? I found three other craftbooks on my shelf with 35 projects in. Here's my reviews

The book I have is called Stitching, but there are other editions of the identical book entitled Fun with Stitching and Stitching for Fun. It is all about adding decoration to premade objects [bags, bibs, boxes, 
blankets etc] Lots of cool templates and neat ideas.

The instructions are clear - and I think the templates are the correct size for each project. That's my only complaint. The little Miffy-like rabbits are cute, but it took ages to work out that they are only 10cm high. Good ideas, and you could easily mix and match the designs and the objects

Emma Hardy's book has also come out in another edition with a different cover. Its published by Cico, a great craft book company.  This one is all about simple machine sewing - clothes, accessories, bags, toys, games, things for your room.

Emma uses a selection of ginghams, stripes, polka dots and florals, and I can see that you can combine them in different ways to make various items. A child would enjoy producing 3 very different gifts from the supplies in her stash box, I think. Good templates and techniques sections [inc 'when you have gone wrong....']
 ****Finally Kaffe Fassett
A glorious riot of colour, quilts inspired by the island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon [a long way from Donna Leon's suspicious deaths!] 
This is a sit down, read through, and dream sort of book. Just nineteen quilts [35 would be spectrum overload, and cause a migraine I think] Each one uses KFs own signature fabrics. 
You really need his fabric to get the same nuanced shading and interplay of colours. But that would [a] cost you around £150 per quilt, and [b] even though the book only came out in 2020, some of the fabrics used are no longer available. The midnight diamonds on the right of the collage requires twenty eight different fabrics, totalling 16 yards. Plus the book, and the batting [wadding] That's a couple of hundred quid!  Lovely book, clear instructions, but beyond the wildest dreams of most of us in terms of time, money and effort. I'm still awarding max stars , for the sheer joy of reading it and dreaming.
I sat next to a woman in a lovely knitted cardigan-coat at a teachers' training conference about 30 years ago. In the coffee break I admired it and asked "Is that a Kaffe Fassett pattern? did you make it yourself?" She explained that she had KFs book, and priced up the many, many shades of Rowan wool needed. It was expensive. The whole family agreed to pay for the wool for her Christmas gift. Her MIL hand made the ceramic buttons. And it took her a year to get the complex knitting finished. By which time she utterly loathed  the garment! "But I feel obliged to wear it, because it cost so much, and my whole family feel invested in it" I felt to sorry for her! I wonder what happened to her, and her cardigan-coat. I somehow feel this is the fate of many KF projects. 

Two popular phrases in craft circles..
There are many UFOs in her spare bedroom [Un Finished Objects]
I am staying in tonight to work on my PhD [Project Half Done]

Have you ever set out to complete a craft project from a book and been truly thrilled with it?
Is it better to have a smaller end product and get it done in a reasonable time?


  1. Lovely quilts and some really nice sewing projects! I have too many UFOs, but, I think I should make a point of working on my PhDs! :D

  2. My sister has a bedroom stacked from floor to ceiling with Rubbermaid totes and various boxes filled with the materials she has acquired over the years. She has a sign on the door - “Area 51”. So far as I’m aware her “works in progress” are kept elsewhere and the room contains just raw materials. Now that I know about UFO’s I’ll have to ask if that was the initial inspiration for the sign.

  3. So many quilting books are 'eye candy' for me as I won't live long enough to make all the quilts in my head! For most of the last 15 years, I've been making uqilits from my fabric stash with no regard for the fabrics in the books. In fact, I think it's horrible that fabric 'kits' are sold because who wants a quilt that is one of t thousands? My quilts are one of a kind on the planet.
    Wish I could see what I'm typing!


    1. I completely agree. Why buy good fabric just to cut it up and sew it together again ? far better to create something beautiful from leftover pieces you already have.

  4. Thanks for the reviews. Let me know if you use the My First Sewing machine book with your granddaughter. That one I am still curious about.

    1. I will let you know if I use it with Rosie

  5. I do smaller projects because patience isn’t MY virtue—however, I am doing a cross stitch project right now that is taking forever and it isn’t nearly as much fun as I thought it was going to be!

    1. Sometimes I have struggled with a project d find the only way to get it done is to set a timer and work for half an hour each day.

  6. I love Kaffe Fassett's work - from a safe distance! They are so sumptuous. I love the look of the books, but daren't read another thing until I've cleared my stash a little.


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